Difference Between Low Blood Sugar Levels & Panic Attacks

low blood sugar levels

Diabetics tend to confuse or link low blood sugar levels to panic attacks. The helpless feeling of being unwell, heartbeat racing, and head-spinning along with it, you continue to wonder what it is as your body begins to sweat. Then you ask yourself if this is a panic attack or an anxiety onset amidst normal sugar levels. While it may not always be as simple as it may seem, hypoglycemia is another cause of the condition.

Blood sugar levels tend to normalize once a diabetic takes control of their diet and lifestyle. Low blood sugars often put your body into a total mess and you are left as a person without power.

Panic Attack 

A panic attack is very sudden in onset and includes intense fear and anxiety. There is often no warning and no apparent reason for it, but they can be triggered by a stressful event such as a bereavement. During a panic attack, your body goes into fight or flight mode – your breathing rate increases, muscles tense and heart rate quickens.

Low Blood Sugar

Also known as hypoglycemia, it is a condition when the glucose level in your blood is too low. It is often associated with being diabetic, but can also be caused by other factors, including skipping a meal, intense exercise or activity, and binge drinking.

While the two are very different, some of the symptoms – such as trembling, sweating and a high heart rate – are similar.

Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar Levels and Panic Attacks

A low blood sugar level can cause a number of symptoms that get better a few minutes after eating sugar. They include:

  • Paleness
  • Trembling
  • Perspiration
  • A feeling of weakness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Hunger
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision.

These are the common symptoms that people can feel during a panic attack:

  • Over-breathing (hyperventilation)
  • Palpitations and/or accelerated heart rate
  • Dry heaving and/or gagging
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or being smothered
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • De-realisation (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • Fear of losing control or going insane
  • Sense of impending death
  • Paraesthesias (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Chills or hot flashes.

Read More: Abnormal Sweating: A Sign of Diabetes

Factors to be kept in Mind for Low Blood Sugar Levels

It is important to have foods that lower blood sugar levels and low glucose levels normalized for better health. While dealing with low blood sugars, anyone who deals with both anxiety and hypoglycemia should remember the following:

  1. A Drop in Blood Sugar Occurs in Response to Stress: During stress, your body burns up sugar rapidly in response to stress. So, not only do we need to manage our stress — but we need to make sure we’re avoiding the other causes of hypoglycemia then, too, if we don’t want it to trigger any potential panic.
  2. When Your Brain Isn’t Getting Enough Sugar, Adrenaline Rush Occurs: It is comforting to know that the panic feelings caused by low blood sugars aren’t necessarily an organic panic attack but our body’s way of correcting an imbalance.
  3. Avoid Hypoglycemia by Eating the Right Food at the Right Time: Eliminating simple carbs and replacing them with complex carbs are a great start. Replacing candy with fruit, ditching foods that contain white sugar, and eating a protein or complex-carb snack between meals, is the best way to reduce hypoglycemia.

Keep a close watch on your blood sugar levels by regularly monitoring blood sugar levels using a smartphone glucometer. Buy a glucometer online and use it especially when you have low glucose levels.

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